We recently spoke with Patrick Moran regarding his executive journey through the Entertainment Industry.
Patrick Moran has 25+ years in the entertainment industry. His experience has evolved from an assistant, to producer, to an executive for organizations such as Fox and ABC Studios. Today he is the Founder of PKM Productions with an overall deal between himself and Amazon (meaning: all productions must be completed under Amazon).
How did you first get into the industry, and what was your inspiration?
I’ve always been a consumer of film and television. Television in particular. I graduated from school, and I moved to LA and became someone’s assistant. Which is the pretty typical way to breaking in – assisting someone who is already in the role you want to have. Kind of unremarkable way of breaking in. Moved out here and became someone’s assistant. That’s it!
And then you went into producing or explored other avenues along the way?
I stayed with that first company I was at, NewLine, for about 5 years. Then the woman I was working for left, so I felt like that was a good time for me too. I took a number of jobs throughout the industry, some on the producing side, the majority on the executive side. With my new company, at Amazon, this is really my first producing gig that is my own. So probably about 20 years on the Executive side though.
What have you found to be the biggest challenge from the Executive side?
It’s an industry that has evolved and changed a lot over the last 20 years, and just keeping up with that evolution. How we’ve gone from an industry with a more traditional Broadcast model and now, no surprise, we’re more of a streaming business. I think all of those shifts and changes are a lot to keep up with.
Have you found that technological disruptions, like AI, have affected the shifting?
I think we’re still waiting to see how AI will affect the business. There’s a lot of conversations on what the next 3-5 years are going to look like. I think there’s some concern, sort of, what kind of jobs AI will take-over or replace. I haven’t seen anything impacted in a very meaningful way. Though I do sort of think that technology, with streaming in particular and more technology companies entering the industry, that’s where we’ve seen the biggest impacts.
Have you seen any impact or shifts for networking in the industry?
I do think there was. It ages me a bit, but for those of us working in the broadcast model (let’s say about 10 years ago), there was a real rhythm to the year. New shows typically launched in September. So, it had created this structure for the year. That’s no longer the case. Shows launch all the time. The streaming services are not on the traditional calendar. There’s been a lack of regulatory in terms of structure. I think that has impacted how we network, how we engage, and what those conversations look like. So, I think moving into the streaming model has definitely impacted the networking experience.
We have been hearing from other Executives that social media is a large part of their networking experience, have you found that to be the case as well?
I might just be older; I have definitely engaged with social media. Though I wouldn’t say that’s how I network. The only platform I’m not on is LinkedIn. I use the platforms more for information rather than networking.
When look for new shows and content, how do you go about that process?
When we’re looking at material and new projects, for me, there are some basic criteria. #1 you want to make sure its not being done elsewhere. Something that feels like a fresh way into something. The second, I tend to gravitate towards things that are more character driven. I like things that feel writer driven. Most of my day is talking with authors, so I do like a really clear sense of authorship. And the shows that feel something contemporary about them, something that’s more of the moment. Broadly speaking.
Are you seeing any concerns over the returning rise of COVID?
Covid really impacted the industry in a big way in 2020. It felt like we’ve just been getting our feet back under us. Now with these strikes and COVID coming back, its just something I think we are going to have to live with and learn to manage. I think it’s here to stay and will always have some impact over production. So, we’re just going to have to continue to do the best to manage.
Having your own company and partnering with Amazon, do you find any friction in your partnership when it comes to selecting content?
They support my company. I have an overall deal with Amazon. I really look at them as partners more than anything. My job is to identify and produce content that makes its way onto their platform. So, I try to take as much direction from them as to what their needs are and do the best I can to satisfy their needs. I found it to be a very healthy partnership. They’ve been very good to me. I think it’s been a really great, successful partnership.
When you have identified your next production, how do you approach the hiring process?
I have the benefit of the inductive experience, and I have a really broad network in almost every category. It’s not a huge challenge to find people to fill those roles. I do continue to keep myself educated in terms of other writers, other directors, and other actors that we can work with. I have some of my go-to people that I work with, and a few others I’m in dialogue with for when the right opportunity comes. So, the networking part of that isn’t super complicated for me.
When you want to stay in the know, what are the best resources for you?
Just being a consumer of Pop Culture, really. I’m always watching shows or movies. If there’s something that strikes me in terms of a performance, or script or the direction, then I reach out and start that dialogue. That way when the right opportunity does come along, I’ve already been in touch with someone. I know it sounds super straight-forward, but it really isn’t much more complicated than that.
What are your favorite types of content to watch?
Probably nothing that will surprise you. I was a huge fan of Succession. I was a huge fan of White Lotus. Those are the two from this year that are kind of the standouts for me. Things that are character driven. Things with a bit of a sense of humor, even if they’re on the surface very dramatic.
How do you see the Entertainment industry evolving over the next 5 years?
That’s a really good question. Right now, in LA we’re in the middle of two strikes, one between the studios and the writer’s guild and the other between the studios and the actors. So, it’s been a complicated summer trying to get these contracts in order to get back to work. I think we’ll be with streaming for a long time. Though the amount of content will probably decrease. I think we’ve seen a firehose of offerings. I think it may have caused a quantity over quality issue and I think we’ll see a pull-back – which would be for the best. I think the peak of TV is really behind us, in terms of volume. I hope that it will yield just better products overall.
What advice would you have for someone who wants to become an Executive in the Entertainment industry?
I don’t think it’s new but work for someone with a job that looks interesting so you can work with someone who will lead you down the right road. Who you work for colors about 80% of your experience. So, I would be very careful who you work for. Be willing to start at the bottom and find someone who is willing to be a mentor.
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